Monday, 23 September 2013

LEARNING EVENT: “Can certification contribute to humanitarian effectiveness?”


A joint HAP and Certification Review Project event

The aim will be to share learning from on-going certification initiatives in the humanitarian sector and hear about quality assurance models in the private sector. During the event, speakers and participants will explore options for certification model(s) that best suit the needs of humanitarians and will reflect on the following themes in particular:

§  - The rationale and incentive for certification: trends in the sector and beyond

§  - The norms and standards against which organisations would be certified to promote more accountable, better quality humanitarian action

§  -  A certification model designed to guarantee quality, that promotes learning and is affordable and accessible to all NGOs

§  -  A certification governance structure that ensures credibility, independence and effectiveness that would promote harmony between national and international certification schemes.

During the event, interactive sessions will address key questions related to these themes. The reflections and outcomes from the learning event will specifically contribute to determining an appropriate certification model for NGOs in the humanitarian sector.

The learning event is open to all humanitarian and development actors. It will include speakers and participants from HAP member organisations, other NNGOs and INGOs, national standards and certification bodies, UN and donor agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, governments, and certification experts from the private sector.

Registration: To participate in the event, and to read more about the venue and other logistics, please click  here before 30 September.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

CERTFICATION MODEL: Provide your input and feedback

Following the June event, work on a certification model has progressed considerably. We have now consolidated all the inputs received and have developed a first draft certification model based on these; a model which we hope also can also build on the strengths of existing approaches.

It is critical for the validity of the review that this draft model reaches as many stakeholders as possible for them to have an opportunity to feed in concerns and suggestions so that we can refine and improve the model before it goes out for testing. This work will help us to determine whether or not certification is a feasible and viable for the sector and, if so, how we should develop it.

We are now looking for your feedback and input on this first draft. In addition, we are seeking consultation opportunities with NGOs, donors, the implementing UN agencies and governments in order to gather as much feedback as possible on the test model. If you believe you can identify an event which would provide opportunities to generate in-put; or, if you would like to send us feedback directly after receiving the draft model electronically, please get in touch. We would greatly appreciate your support in helping us with these critical consultations.

The project is also looking for any NGOs interested in volunteering to undertake the pilot testing. If you are interested in discussing and being part of the review, please get in touch with the project team soon.

The time frame for consultations is limited, and we are requesting all feedback on the draft by 31 October. We have also provided a set of guidance questions  to facilitate structured feedback on the model and to help you reflect on how it might affect your organisation’s work.

To get an overview of the project plan for the next 12 months, you can view the project’s planned timeline.

Get in touch by email with Philip Tamminga, the Project Coordinator or Bethan Montague Brown or, to discuss by phone, please call + 41 22 791 64 67 with questions or suggestions.

Monday, 9 September 2013

SUMMARY REPORTS: Geneva Standards Forum (27 & 28 June) Certification Review Day Reports

This well-attended event was hosted by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation and held at the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva. Around 175 people registered to attend the two days, and over 100 people were present for the Certification Review Day, on June 28th. The Forum provided the project with its largest audience to-date. We were able to benefit from a series of excellent debates in the form of a series of workshops. 

The key messages and summaries that we are able to take from these workshops can be downloaded in a report from the day. These messages and inputs will be consolidated and used to inform the project direction as we move forward with the next stages. We have also made the presentation power point available so that it can be downloaded and shared in your own organisation. A full report is also available on request.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

What is the IASC?

As the SCHR is a standing invitee of the IASC, you may be interested in understanding more about that forum. The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) is the primary mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance. It is a unique forum involving the key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners.
The IASC was established in June 1992 in response to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/182 on the strengthening of humanitarian assistance. General Assembly Resolution 48/57 affirmed its role as the primary mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance.
Under the leadership of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, the IASC develops humanitarian policies, agrees on a clear division of responsibility for the various aspects of humanitarian assistance, identifies and addresses gaps in response, and advocates for effective application of humanitarian principles. Together with Executive Committee for Humanitarian Affairs (ECHA), the IASC forms the key strategic coordination mechanism among major humanitarian actors.
Primary Objectives

• To develop and agree on system-wide humanitarian policies
• To allocate responsibilities among agencies in humanitarian programmes
• To develop and agree on a common ethical framework for all humanitarian activities
• To advocate for common humanitarian principles to parties outside the IASC
• To identify areas where gaps in mandates or lack of operational capacity exist
• To resolve disputes or disagreement about and between humanitarian agencies on system-wide humanitarian issues.

SCHR News and Updates

Welcome to this new part of the SCHR website. On this page we will share any updates or interesting information about the SCHR and its activities. You may be interested to read an excerpt from an early 1970s SCHR Handbook here, which gives us an indication of how much things have changed in the last four decades!

ICRC contributes to the debate on certification

Back in June, the ICRC hosted a panel debate organised in Paris on the issue of certification. The debate (in French) aired the panellists’ differing viewpoints on the rationale, benefits and costs of certification in the humanitarian sector. You can watch this online on the blog of the ICRC.

Certification of Humanitarian Organisations

How could humanitarian certification affect your work? Will it help you focus on good practice and improving the quality and accountability of humanitarian assistance? Or, will it create additional administrative burdens with little added-value for your work? How would certification affect humanitarian directors, operations managers, finance and audit staff, monitoring and evaluations staff, and field staff and your local partners? Please share this important information with them.

The Certification Review project, sponsored by the SCHR, has been reviewing these questions and has developed a draft proposal for a certification model to assess the capacity, performance and accountability of humanitarian NGOs. As of September 6th, the project team will be sharing the model with stakeholders to generate feedback and inputs on the feasibility of the model. Guidance questions will be developed to facilitate structured feedback on the model and how it might affect your organisation’s work.

This is an important opportunity for you and your colleagues to input and influence proposals which could have significant implications for humanitarian NGOs. The proposed model will be made available here on theSCHR website (translations in French and Spanish will follow shortly), or can be requested by email. Feedback can be sent directly to the project team: or 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

OPEN MEETING: Improving Humanitarian Action

On June 17, ALNAP hosted an open meeting to explore some of the questions around standards and verification. Questions around how to improve the delivery of quality and accountability to recipients of aid focused on
  • a) the use and relevance of current standards and
  • b) the potential for a developing a compliance mechanism for verifying and benchmarking how well humanitarian agencies apply principles and standards of quality and accountability.
ALNAP identified some key questions: Does the system need to change the way that standards are implemented? Is there potential for a single core standard for humanitarian action? Is the system ready for a new system of certification? If so, what will it look like? What are the certification criteria? Who will do the verifying?
The meeting was streamed simultaneously and you can watch excerpts, via the ODI website, here.